Gophers greats loyal to end

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 18, 2011 - 6:12 AM

Murray Warmath's players drew on almost 60 years of memories of a man they considered a surrogate dad.

They've been getting together on Thursdays for years. They used to have lunch at Bob McNamara's Sports Bar, which was closed to make way for condos. Now they meet at Legends, a bunch of folks with University of Minnesota ties.

On this day, McNamara was there with his brother Pinky, former Gophers football player and assistant coach Dick Larson, former Gophers trainer Jim Marshall and former men's basketball coach Jim Dutcher, among others.

At one point, Bob McNamara stood up and clanged his glass for attention. Thursday's meeting had two purposes, to wish Pinky a happy birthday and to mourn the passing of Murray Warmath. There was a moment of silence, then memories.

That's the way it was all over the country for former players of Warmath, who died Wednesday evening in Bloomington at the age of 98. Bobby Bell, down in Arizona, was getting ready to fly to Florida to see his 1960 teammate Judge Dickson.

Jim Carter, also down south, was getting ready to come home in time for Monday's service. After their own moments of silence, they talked about their former coach.

"He was like a father to me," said Bell, one of many All-Americas that Warmath coached and one of the many black players Warmath recruited long before most other schools were willing. "For him to give me an opportunity was the best thing that ever happened to me. ... It's like I lost a surrogate father. I did. He'd go to bat for you, I'd do anything for him. This is a tough thing."

Carter said Warmath's death is "a big loss for me."

Bob McNamara was Warmath's first captain at Minnesota, in 1954. His lasting memory is how Warmath kept in touch with his former players and how close those players remained.

"He kept us together for 60 years," he said. "The word loyalty fits Murray. He always respected the university, always sold the university. That's why his players respected him."

Ezell Jones, John Williams, Bob Stein and Jim Carter were teammates on the 1967 team that won a share of the Gophers' last Big Ten Conference championship. Stein called Warmath a civil-rights leader without ever intending to be.

"He treated people the way you would treat him," Stein said.

Jones, a black man recruited out of Memphis, graduated from the U and stayed in the Twin Cities.

"Murray meant a lot to me, OK? Murray made a difference in this country in the lives of a lot of young black men," he said. "He was a promise-keeper for me and a lot of other young men who came along at the same time."

Williams left Minnesota and played in the NFL for 12 seasons, winning a Super Bowl ring. After retiring, he returned to Minnesota and now has a Minneapolis dental practice.

"He was personable, yet always stern," Williams said. "He was a strong man."

Peter Franzen, a family friend who often helped Warmath get to local events and games, recalled being at a Vikings practice last fall. The two were watching from one end zone when Warmath pointed out a rookie guard. He had a tell, Warmath said. He lined up with his hand flat on the ground for a running play, in a fist for a passing play.

"We were 60 yards away," Franzen said. "I couldn't even see his hand."

Franzen was with Warmath on Wednesday. Warmath's son Murray and family friend Sally Stadum were en route to the Twin Cities from San Diego and Portland, Ore., respectively. Franzen, sitting by Warmath's bed, kept whispering in his ear. They're coming, he said. They'll be here soon.

Both arrived at about the same time and were able to spend some time with Warmath before he passed.

"I think he told death to sit down and wait his turn," Franzen said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - J. Vargas 7:07 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 3:00 PM
San Jose
Boston 6:00 PM
Toronto
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Montreal
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Dallas 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Chicago 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Nashville
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Florida 8:00 PM
Arizona
Washington 9:00 PM
Calgary
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 14 2nd Qtr 15:00
Rice 14
UAB 0 2nd Qtr 11:05
Arkansas 21
Rutgers 7 2nd Qtr 11:52
(16) Nebraska 14
Maryland 0 2nd Qtr
Wisconsin 10
Texas 0 2nd Qtr 11:03
(11) Kansas State 6
Minnesota 3 2nd Qtr 11:22
Illinois 14
Memphis 14 2nd Qtr 11:08
SMU 0
North Carolina 0 1st Qtr 5:28
Virginia 7
San Jose St 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Los Angeles 1:30 PM
Seattle
D.C. 3:00 PM
Montreal
Toronto FC 6:30 PM
New England
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close